Friday 10:50 am-1:30 pm
Professor: Anna Wagner
January 31st 2015
Egypt and its legacy
The Egyptian civilization emerged some time in the year 3500 BCE. Located along the Nile River, giving the Egyptian land growth and prosperity. The culture of Egypt was a major influence for many civilizations to come; many of them adopted their taste for art and architecture and their religious beliefs. From the Greek, the Romans and even now in modern days we continue to be influenced by their amazing architecture, like the Temple of Luxor in Las Vegas, which was built to represent the famous Pyramids of Giza.
In the ancient time the fruitfulness of Egypt was famous and other civilizations had an eye on this fertile land, it took a long time before the Egyptian dynasties could be defeated, making it one of the longest civilizations ever known. European expeditions around the Nile river took place in 1779 it was then that historian began to uncover the history of Egypt and thereafter many discoveries that lead scholars to learn all of the great legacies this culture left for many generations to come.
According to Gardner’s in “ Art Through the Ages” the Egyptian civilization was divided into five time periods, The Predynastic and Early Dynastic, Old Kingdom, Middle Kingdom, New kingdom and the First Millennium.
During the Predynastic and Early Dynastic time Egypt’s land was divided in to upper and Lower Egypt, the Upper part of the land was mostly for hunting and Low part indorsed agriculture and animal farming. The Upper part of Egypt was very important because is where archeologist found most of the art, specially the city of Hierakonpolis where they discovered the famous Narmer Palette and also some mural painting. The Pallet of Pharaoh Narmer was made in representation of the unity of Upper and Lower Egypt, it depicts Kings Narmer wearing the crown of lower Egypt, he is found at the center of the pallet looking bigger than anyone else, giving him a symbol of divinity. The pallet was made of stone and combines profile views of the head, legs and arms, frontal views of torso and eyes, we can appreciate almost the same artwork found in Mesopotamian and Persian art. The pallet tells a story of the creation of the “Kingdome of the Two Lands” (Gardner’s 57). Narmer’s pallet is one of the most important surviving pieces of artwork because it portrayed celebration rather than death.
The architecture of the Egyptians had a very special link with the after life, they built tombs and monuments that ensured safety and happiness in the next life, an example of a tomb found during this time is Mastabas, it was the standard tomb built like a bench made of brick or stone, it was an underground burial chamber where they buried a single person but later they accommodated the mastabas for whole families to be buried.
One of the most important occurrences during this time was the presence of the first artist whose name was recorded in the world, Imhotep. He was known for his talents and he was deified as the son of the god Ptah, one of his many attributions was the Stepped Pyramid of Djoser, Saqqara, Egypt. This Pyramid was built during the third dynasty for king Djoser.
Old Kingdom, beginning with the fourth dynasty under the power of pharaoh Sneferu (r.2575-2551 BCE). One of the most important developments of this time was the creation of the Pyramids of Giza, the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world. It consisted of three pyramids that were made over a period of 75 years. The purpose of the pyramids was to serve as tombs for the fourth Dynasty pharaohs Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure. The great Pyramids are symbols of the sun, as they believed that pharaohs could use the sun’s rays as ladder to ascend to the heavens. During the old kingdom they used sculptures to symbolize mummifications or immortality. One example of the statues found was Menkaure and Khamerernebty, from Giza, Egypt. Fourth